Asian Adventure Part I - jazz707

Asian Adventure January 2014 Part I Jakarta to Manila


Four countries, over two weeks, involving fourteen flights, a huge amount of planning, a lot of anticipation, with a fair amount of frustration... an adventure and an experience. The thoughts of doing this trip had been there for a few years, and with this January being good timing, myself and Ian 'Elbow' Ellington decided to 'go for it'. The four countries... Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India are all well known for a lot of quality aircraft, both civil and military. Its also well known, that not just getting to see them, but photograph them, is certainly a challange. Knowing this from the start, we expected some dissapointment along the way, but still hoped there would be enough success to make it all worthwhile.

The basic plan for the trip was quite simple, with only one event to consider, the Childrens Day airshows in Thailand, which occur on the second Saturday of January every year. So, leaving straight after new year, Jakarta would be the first stop, before on to Manila for another couple of days. Heading back West, Thailand was next, with a couple of days in Phuket before a bit longer in Bangkok. Our original plan of then visiting Nepal was cancelled in the planning stage, with no access arranged at Kathmandu, and the visit to the famous airport at Lukla, close to the Everest base camp, all being too difficult. Instead, we decided on India, despite the tight security, although we weren't aware of the difficulty and expense involved in getting a visa. Ironically, and thankfully, this was the only country that Brits need to obtain a visa for before travel, although apparently there are plans to bring in visa on arrival soon (as in Indonesia). So, as well as a couple of days at Mumbai, very short visits were also made to Goa and New Delhi to finish off the trip, both of which have excellent museums, with 'anything else' photographed being a bonus.


DAY 1 FRIDAY 3RD JANUARY

Actually starting just before midnight on the 2nd, flying with Qatar Airways for a change, was better for these flights. First off then, QR1107 operated by A320 A7-ADI, departed Bahrain at 2320, landing at Doha 40 minutes later at midnight. With the new international airport in Doha about to open, the current airport is a bit unusual in that all flights seem to use remote stands, with coach transfers to/from the terminal. Thankfully the connection wasn't that tight, with QR956 to Jakarta (CGK) operated by A330-300 A7-AEE, off at 0300 and landing 8.40 hours later at 1540L. This full flight had resulted in the first bit of good news, as having air miles with BA, this One World partner airline had given a free upgrade to business class! Of course, this certainly helped with getting plenty of sleep with the lie-flat seats. Meanwhile, Elbow was flying Etihad from Heathrow via Abu Dhabi, and was due into Jakarta at 1355, although with a delay had landed not that long before, with us then meeting up in the baggage hall.

From here, it was straight to our hotel, the Jakarta Airport Hotel located in Terminal 2, which is a well known 'spotters hotel', with rooms overlooking the ramp and Northerly runway. Being good for photography, although through windows, we had planned to spend the last couple of daylight hours shooting from here. However, bad news... it was closed for renovation! Give us a clue, nobody had told us! Thankfully, not all bad news though, as they were putting us up into another hotel we had considered anyway, the nice FM7 Resort Hotel, right on the perimeter and great for shots of aircraft on finals to the Northerly runway. Having said that, we hadn't seen any reports of photography from here, so weren't sure of any security 'issues'. Thankfully, there wasn't to be any, with a request for a North facing, top floor room (there's only two floors anyway), being granted, with the staff seeing us taking shots with no concern. Infact, walking outside, shots are even better (with the rooms large window being slightly tinted), from a grassed area to the side of the hotel, or as we did, walk the short distance around into the industrial estate, where again, nobody was concerned. Today though, with sunset just after 6pm, there wasn't much time left, with nothing photographed in the fading light that we wouldn't see again in much better light.


DAY 2 SATURDAY 4TH JANUARY

Todays plan was for a drive around Jakarta, to catch up with a few old classics located in museums and parks etc. A huge city with extreme traffic and driving habits, this is certainly a task that foreigners should not undertake! Having tried my hand at places like Japan and Turkey, with no problems, i'm still glad i didn't give this place a try! So, and instead of trying our luck with a taxi, we had arranged for a driver and guide (Berthoni), with our pre-arranged itinerary all understood and confirmed. This worked very well, although despite a lot of effort from our guide, unfortunately we had failed to get permission for a visit to Halim Airport (more on this later).

Leaving the hotel at 7am, we drove straight to our furthest location to visit, the 'Taman Mini Indonesia Indah' park, around an hour away to the SE. Here, is one of several DC-3's on display in the city marked as 'RI-001' of Indonesian Airways (named 'Seulawah'), the famous first airliner in the country in 1948, as used by the President. The exact id's of these aircraft still needs confirming. On leaving, our guide said 'i thought you might like to see this', as we stopped by Garuda DC-9-32 PK-GNT, which is in another part of the park, but under a roof, so not visible on google earth etc! 'Yes, and if you know of anything else like this, let us know'! Now on display here, (unfortunately) re-painted into the latest Garuda colours, it was w/o in 1993 after a very hard landing at Bali. Also present, next to the Nine, is orange Indonesian AF 'SAR' Bo105CB HR-1525.

From here, our next planned stop was for another DC-3 on display, around 5 miles to the NW. In between is Jakarta's second airport, Halim, where we had gone to a lot of trouble trying to arrange official access (knowing that others appear to have done it). However, being a joint civil-military airfield (so with military security), the Indonesian AF in the end declined our request. Probably the biggest dissapointment of the whole trip, not only are there Airforce B737-200's and F-27's based here, it is the main executive/GA airport for Jakarta, and houses a lot of stored/derelict old classics, all making this place pretty special. Despite not having the access, our guide was still happy to have a quick look around the terminal area, for us to see if there was anything easy to shoot. Walking into the terminal, and upstairs around the very quiet office areas (being a weekend), we did find one window where a couple of shots were possible, overlooking part of the ramp. The handfull of shots included a pair of Susi Air Avanti's, PK-BVX and PK-VVX. Seeing some of the other stuff in the distance though... talk about frustrating!

And so, on to the next Dak on display, Indonesian AF C-47A T-459 located at the Jalan Tol Dalam Kota (Staff College). Not able to gain access, being a military facility, good shots are easy from the roadside just outside anyway. From here, less than five miles along the highway to the West, is the Satria Mandala museum, where there are quite a few aircraft on display. Again, highlight is another DC-3, the second aircraft we would see marked as 'RI-001' of Indonesian Airways (named 'Seulawah'). Unlike the first, which has a white top with red cheatline, this one is bare metal with blue lines and has PK-GDZ under the left wing. Unfortunately, this still doesn't help confirm the id, as GDZ was destroyed in 1961, so presumably had the wing(s) used to restore this aircraft?! Others here include B-25J M-458, Mig-21F F-2164, Army Mil-4 HA-5007 and nice Navy Gannet AS4 AS-00. The final stop, before returning to CGK, was for certainly my highlight of today, Indonesian AF Jetstar 6 A-9446 (named 'Sapta Marga'), which is on display at the Garuda Training Center in Duri Kosambi, around ten miles to the NW. As the plaque states, it was the first Presidential jet in Indonesia, replacing an IL-14, with two aircraft ordered during an official visit to the Lockheed factory (when 11 C-130B's were ordered). Operated by 17 Squadron from 1958-1968, the other aircraft, A-1645 (named 'Pancasila') is now on display at the Yogyakarta museum (around 280 miles to the SE of Jakarta).

Returning to Jakarta CGK, just five miles to the NW, there was one final aircraft on display to visit. Located outside the main Garuda headquaters here is another unidentified DC-3, in Garuda colours with no registration. From here we were dropped off at one of the terminals, where we looked for one of the viewing decks. Unless we overlooked them somehow, it seems some of the several stated to be here, are now closed. We did find one, in Terminal 3, but it wasn't good enough to stay at and shoot from. Also, more frustration here is the large amount of retired/stored old airliners, which are parked around hangars and distant ramps. Unfortunately, with no access arranged, these couldn't be photographed. It wasn't that long ago that Indonesia was a haven for these still in service, but, although its been better from a safety point of view, as the country has pretty much totally modernised its airline industry, for those more interested in older classics, those days are over! If you like plenty of new, modern airliners though, come and fill your boots!

Returning to the hotel then, to shoot the arrivals onto runway 25R for the last couple of hours of daylight, 'highlights' photographed among the modern stuff included Air Asia A320 PK-AXS (in special 'WOW' colours), Garuda A330-300 PK-GPA (with large LFC badge and 'You'll never walk alone' logos, used by the team for there 2013 Tour), Jetstar 'Valuair' A320 9V-JSH, ANA B767-300(WL) JA624A, Lion Air B737-900ER PK-LJZ (with special orange fin and 70th B737NG logo), Batik Air B737-900ER's PK-LBM and PK-LBO, Citilink (Garuda's LCC) A320 PK-GLI, and what just about count as 'classics'!... Sriwijaya Air B737-300's PK-CJC, PK-CKJ (new colours) and PK-CKK, and B737-500(WL)'s PK-CLK and PK-CLN (both in new colours), Garuda B737-300 PK-GGG (old colours with large 'E-Travel' logo, one of around four -300's still in service) and nice Aviastar BAe146-200 PK-BRI (previously Meridiana I-FLRO).


DAY 3 SUNDAY 5TH JANUARY

A full day shooting runway 25R landers, mostly by the industrial units next to the hotel, before an overnight flight to Manila. Again, highlights photographed (not already mentioned) included... Lion Air B747-400 PK-LHF (one of two they operate), Jetstar 'Valuair' A320 9V-JSF, Sriwijaya Air B737-500(WL)'s PK-CLH, PK-CLI and PK-CLU (all new colours), Citilink A320's PK-GLM, PK-GLO, PK-GLQ, PK-GLR, PK-GLS, PK-GLV and two months old PK-GLY (sharklets), Lion Air B737-900ER's PK-LFG (Dreamliner colours) and PK-LHY (with special orange fin and '50th B737-900ER' logo), Sriwijaya Air B737-300's PK-CJY (new colours), PK-CKC, PK-CKI ('I Love Papua' logo) and PK-CKL, Business Air B767-300ER HS-BIG, new Garuda B777-300ER's PK-GIC and PK-GIE, Malaysia Airlines B737-800's 9M-MLS, 9M-MLT, 9M-MXM and 9M-MXN, Garuda B737-500's PK-GGC, PK-GGD and PK-GGF (the three -500's still active), Tigerair Mandala A320's PK-RMO, PK-RMQ and PK-RMR, Garuda B737-800's PK-GEF, PK-GEP (both old colours), PK-GFN (1969-1985 retro colours) and PK-GFR (with 123rd B737 delivered logo), Tiger Airways A320 9V-TAU, Saudia B777-300ER HZ-AK11, joint Lion Air/Malaysian outfit Malindo Air B737-900ER 9M-LNK, Lion Air B737-400 PK-LIS (one of five -400's active), Vietnam Airlines A321 VN-A325, Royal Brunei A319 V8-RBR (new colours), EVA Air B777-300ER B-16708, Mihin Lanka A321 4R-MRC, Thai Lion Air B737-900ER HS-LTH (one of two delivered in October), Philippine Airlines A319 RP-C8600, Nam Air B737-500(WL) PK-NAN (LCC subsidiary of Sriwijaya Air, just entered service), Batik Air B737-900ER's PK-LBG and PK-LBH, Etihad B777-300ER A6-ETE, two weeks old Air Asia A320(SL) 9M-AJE, Yemenia A330-200 7O-ADT, and Garuda B747-400 PK-GSH (one of only two left in service now).


DAY 4 MONDAY 6TH JANUARY

After checking out of the FM7, we left Indonesia for the Philippines with an overnight flight to Manila. Flying business class and departing 1.20 hours late, PR536 was operated by A319 RP-C8600, off at 0215 and landing 3.40 hours later at 0655L. Here, we had arranged for a driver (Lee) to take us around over the next couple of days, who was waiting on our arrival. Similar to Jakarta, our plans were pre-arranged and understood, first heading to our airport hotel, the Remington, to try and check in early. On the Eastern perimeter, high floor rooms facing the airport provide a reasonable view overlooking some of the Terminal 3 ramps, taxiway and runway 13/31. This shorter runway is used mostly by domestic and GA flights. Getting to the room, some first shots taken here, of reasonable quality through the windows, included DHL/Air Hong Kong A300F4-600R B-LDD, Tigerair Philippines A320 RP-C6320 ('Its more fun in the Philippines'), Cebu Pacific A320(SL)'s RP-C3275 and RP-C3276, Island Aviation Do228's RP-C2283 and RP-C2287, two months old Philippine Airlines A321(SL) RP-C9905, Beech E90 RP-C291, all white SEAir Do328 RP-C7328, and Zest Air A320's RP-C8986 (in the new Air Asia Zest colours), RP-C8989 and RP-C8994 (both still in the original colours).

During this time, we were in touch with another local contact, who would hopefully be getting us airside access, to photograph the many classics and other interesting aircraft parked/derelict around the Northerly ramps here. Thankfully, this time, after a lot of effort, it was to pay off, with the quite large 'fee' certainly worth it, for access to so many classics present. On arrival into Manila this morning, the weather had been perfect, but had then become overcast, so our delay in getting airside wasn't a bad thing, with the sun getting out again at times, including for probably the star 'of the show'. Not surprisingly, the three hours on the ramps produced far too much to detail here, so to try and keep it to the 'best' highlights...

Despite everything else here, the obvious highlight still has to be the legendary 'Winky's Fish' Super Constellation N4247K. Operated by the US Navy as R7V-1 (C-121J) 131643 (with 'Ole Blue from Point Mugu' nose art) from 1953-1973 before storage at AMARC until 1981, it was then purchased by William 'Winky' Crawford. Restoration at Arlington, WA was then completed in late 1987, for operation by World Fish and Agriculture Inc, carrying fish from the Pacific island of Palau 2,000 miles to Nagoya in Japan, as well as Guam and the Philippines. After less than six months in service though, it was then impounded at Manila in June 1988, where it remains, now over 25 years later. Of course, time has taken its toll on the airframe, which has sunk into the grass at what had become its final resting place. The last 're-paint' has also faded so much, as to reveal most of the old US Navy markings, with the 'Pacific Missile Range' and BuN serial on the fins again clearly visible. Latest reports of the aircraft being due to be scrapped in 2013, thankfully never happened, but surely its just a matter of time before this classic is lost.

As well as the Connie, the YS-11's present here must be among the highlights. Six of these rare classics were noted present, with RP-C2252 still complete, in ex Japan Air System colours, with 'Airlink International Airways and Aviation College' titles and logo on the fin. Recently, the titles and registration have been painted over on the right side (with the left side just started), so may have further use planned? Parked behind on the grass, is similar RP-C2677, still with the ex JAS tail colours, though derelict with its engines removed. No longer in use (at the moment) is RP-C3338, still in full Interisland Airlines colours, which is parked up and complete. Over the last few years, this was the only YS-11 flying here, though now appears grounded. Former Asian Spirit, now all white RP-C3588 also appears complete, but with flat tyres is presumably also currently not airworthy. Also to mention, another grounded YS-11 here until recently, would have made for seven aircraft, but it appears that RP-C3587 (painted in BIMP-EAGA Air Alliance colours), has now unfortunately been scrapped, with no sign of it (was parked next to '2677).

Currently then, only Fil-Asian Airways have airworthy YS-11's, with RP-C3591 parked up today, outside the old Interisland hangar. Another aircraft, also complete and recently fully re-painted into their colours, is RP-C3585 (previously in a similar scheme to '2677), which was on the 2GO Express ramp (next to '3588). Careful not to use the term 'operational', the current status of the airline is a bit of a mystery, despite a lot of effort trying to find out if they would be flying during our visit! Although there have been reports of certification problems with the airline/aircraft, they certainly have flown on (maybe just a few?) occasions recently. Trying for the only chance to fly on the type in the world now, our enquiries through local contacts had suggested they would be flying today, with bookings possible via their website. According to that, R1134 would arrive from Masbate at 0725, with R1211 out to Tablas at 0815. Returning as R1212 at 1100, R1133 was then due out at 1300 back to Masbate ('the aircraft is based/operating from Masbate'). Of course, none of this happened, with both of their aircraft just parked up all day! Being sceptical enough, we hadn't booked in the end anyway, though thats not to say we weren't dissapointed with a possible chance gone. Who knows though, maybe in the near future, the chance to fly in and photograph these in service could happen. I'll certainly be watching!

Next classics... lets try the couple of 'Russians' here. As well as the YS-11 present, Interisland Airlines also operated a couple of Yak-40's, with both now retired. Previously 'stored' on the ramp with a cover over the nose, RP-C2805 is now probably better described as being derelict (although still pretty much fully intact), sinking into the grass, with the cover gone. Their other 'pocket rocket' was w/o at Caticlan in 2005, when one of the famous low landings there came in just a bit too low! Also still fully intact, although derelict for even longer, is An-24B RP-C7205, all white with Mosphil Aero logos on the nose and fin. This very short-lived outfit commenced operations at the end of 2006 and quit after around three months, with the aircraft sat sinking into the grass since.

DC-3's... three photographed, with a couple of others in areas we didn't visit. Former Swiftair Daks RP-C147 and RP-C368 still linger on, derelict (with the latter still having the full original orange top scheme). Dumped next to '368 is former Asean Air Freight C-47D N102DH. Continuing with Douglas and on to some old jets here, five retired Cebu Pacific DC-9-32's present are RP-C1543 and RP-C1544 (both all white with regs painted out), RP-C1537 and RP-C1545 in the full white colours, and RP-C1546 in the full yellow colours. All of these are derelict, though '1537 is at least parked on the ramp (still doomed no doubt). This has familiar history, previously being BMA's G-BMWD, and is infact now registered as N367UD for Allegis Aviation Group, Miami. The others are similarly registered, with '1545 and '1546 also having familiar history, being ex KLM PH-DOA and PH-DOB. Memories! Also present are three ex Air Philippines B737-200's, all in a similar state, complete with engines, all white with logos removed from the blue fins. RP-C8011 and RP-C8022 both still have regs, while the third, thought to be RP-C8007, has been painted over. All are now registered to DGI LLC, with US registrations allocated, though similar to the DC-9's, are not worn.

Of the other larger types present and photographed, a couple of Zest Air Dash 7's were RP-C2915 in full colours, and all white RP-C2996, both with engines and other parts missing. Another rare old classic present was DHC-4A Caribu RP-C2702, a former US Army C-7B and 'Naam Vet' in the Sixties. Later brought out of AMARC as N800NC in 1986, it later spent five years up in Alaska, during which time it broke through a frozen lake! The survivor then headed over to Guam in '99, hauling helicopters, before ending up on the Philippines register with Jans Helicopter Services at nearby Clark. Now parked here, it has reportedly been up for sale for maybe five years or more now. More modern prop types, included another SEAir Do328, RP-C6328 (with logos), in addition to the already mentioned all white RP-C7328. The smaller Do228's included the already mentioned Island Aviation RP-C2283 and RP-C2287, as well as Soriano Aviation RP-C1008 and RP-C2289 of Island Transvoyager (with an engine missing). British commuter types included Royal Star Aviation Jetstream 32's RP-C2812 (with 'Alphaland, Balesin Island Club' logo) and recent addition RP-C2813, as well as their all white Jetstream 41 RP-C8299. A good amount of Islanders and Trislanders are also present here, of course being ideal for the many small island strips around the country. Pinoy Air Trislanders C-GOXZ, G-BDOT and G-OJAV (no reg carried) are all inactive though. Several Islanders present are active, although we didn't visit their ramps, with another, old unidentified fuselage in the back of one hangar, still showing its 'Surigao Air' logo.

Finally, biz-jets photographed around the ramps and hangars included Lear 31 RP-C8822 of Asia Pacific Helicopters, classic looking Lear 35A RP-C610 of Subic International Air Charter, previously registered Lear 45 N296JA (ex RP-C8338), Gulf 200 N168RR, CRJ-200ER RP-C8638 (ex Delta Connection), Cessna 560XL RP-C6038, HS125-700A's RP-C5808 and 1977-built RP-C8108 (wfu with no engines), HS125-700B RP-C602, and Gulf 4SP RP-C8346. Then, on our way out, ATR-42-500 RP-C4201 was just taxying in. Still in the basic colours of AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines (ex 4K-AZ53), it is on lease to Island Transvoyageur. Saying a big thanks and farewell to our 'escort', it was back with Lee, who would now be helping with our next request, to find a good spot to photograph the landing traffic onto the main runway (06), for the last 2-3 hours of the day.

Of course, the Philippines is certainly not a rich country, and as per most places in the world, housing around the immediate vicinity of major airports is usually of a 'lower standard'. Not surprisingly then, it was a bit of an 'eye opener' to see how some people were living here, although, again with invaluable local help from Lee, we were able to find a good photospot, where we would be fine, among some of the locals. Highlights of the arrivals, among the more regular stuff, to finish off a good, long day, then included... China Airlines B737-800 B-18605, Saudia B747-400 HZ-AIX, Qatar Airways B777-300ER A7-BAT (delivered new two months ago), US Army C-12U 84-00168 of Co A 6-52 AVN (with an interesting mod on the rear fuselage), Kuwait Airways A340-300 9K-ANC, Cathay Pacific A340-300X B-HXB, Tigerair Philippines A320 RP-C5319, China Southern ERJ-190LR B-3205, Cebu Pacific ATR-72-200 RP-C7252 and Malaysia Airlines B737-800 9M-MXM. Despite photographing most of the regular airline types in the Philippines, we didn't catch any of the remaining PAL B747-400's this time. Similar to Garuda, these are being replaced by types such as the B777-300, with just four remaining in service.


DAY 5 TUESDAY 7TH JANUARY

Today, with sun up at 0630, there was a bit of time for shooting from the hotel room before the Airforce Museum opened at 0800. A few highlights included a couple of the resident Beech 18's, that we didn't get to see airside yesterday. Departing first thing, were CM Aero Services Beech E18's RP-C984 and RP-C2984. These were followed by USAF C-12C 76-0163 from the Embassy Flight (based here or Bangkok?). Other smaller stuff included Cessna 402C RP-C3777 of Semirara Mining Corporation, while a few Cebu Pacific's of interest were another ATR-72-200 RP-C7250 and one of only two A330-300X's operated (both delivered new last year), RP-C3341. Also, another DHL/Air Hong Kong A300F4-600R had arrived overnight and parked at T3, B-LDH.

The plan today, was to visit the Airforce Museum, located right next to the hotel, before heading off to Clark airport, where we had a flight out of later. The museum, located behind the Airforce ramp and hangars (part of Villamor Air Base), has a few gems, with highlight being former Government YS-11A RP77. Others include PhAF C-47D 43-48301 (a former VC-47D), HU-16B Albatross 48607, 'Blue Diamonds' F-5A 13326/1 (named 'Hari Tupas'), F-8H 147056/313, F-86D 524140, UH-34D (Wessex) 153131 'Rescue' and S-62A (mini S-61) 62018. Another nice chopper, caught departing from the Airforce ramp, was Government Bell 412HP RP2000.

Checking out of the hotel and leaving for Clark, around 60 miles to the NW, this is still quite a drive, through Manila traffic, of around 2.5 hours. Getting there with a few hours spare before our flight out, first stop was the Airforce Park, located just outside the Air Base area. Five aircraft on display here include F-5A 10507 and F-8H 48661/301. Close by, just inside the perimeter fence, are a couple of retired airframes, with F-27-200 10246 and UH-1H 61113 both on for shots. Just then, arriving and landing on this clearing/field was PZL W-3A Sokol 310921, which dropped off a couple of people before away again (presumably to the main ramp, where one was seen later). All delivered in 2012, its thought the PhAF has eight of these in service, with reports of some/all based here or in Dauis. Certainly a lucky catch, it was almost unlucky though, as we had been seen by a passing military serviceman, who had stopped and wanted us to delete the images from our CF cards. Thankfully, 'our man' Lee was at hand to 'calm down' the situation!

From here, we drove around to the terminal, where from the left side, we started to shoot some of the nice stuff parked nearby. This included a couple of US Gulfstream 550's, with N838KE and N888XS parked in/outside the Metrojet hangar, both thought to be based here (with the former operated by Metrojet). Meanwhile, Lee was talking with some of the security guys nearby, asking about access around the hangars and ramps. With a small 'fee' negotiated, we then drove around, passing Zest Air MA-60 RP-C8892 sticking out of one hangar (wfu with structural damage after a landing accident at Caticlan in 2009). Stopping at the edge of a ramp, this contained Gulf 450 B-LCK (also operated by Metrojet, for Prime Century Worldwide Ltd), SEAir Do328 RP-C5328, Spirit of Manila Airlines MD-83 RP-C7702 (wfu, with the airline grounded since Jan 2012), and Majestic Air Cargo B727-200F RP-C7110 (ex Heavylift Cargo RP-C8019, complete with 'sharks mouth' scheme). Although in good condition, this is not thought to be in service. Nearby, was ex Air Philippines B737-200 RP-C8007 (derelict with many parts missing), and nice Beech E18S N5611D. Registered to Russell Large, it has a Hamilton extended nose (modified in 1976), and is currently being made airworthy. Operated by Navion Air Service, the friendly guys working on the aircraft said it will soon be ready for charters if we were interested... yeh, next time maybe!

Also here is the SEAir hangar and ramp, owned by, and with the co-located facility of Irén Dornier, with Dornier Technology involved in the production and assembly of the Dornier S-Ray 007, two-seat amphibious aircraft. Gaining access, we could photograph everything, apart from Bo105M RP-C3699 (ex 80+18), which had been involved in a recent accident, and was under investigation. Irén's other personal aircraft, very nice Alpha Jet A RP-C999 and Falcon 10 RP-C9999, both registered to Dornier No Limits GmbH, as well as Alouette II RP-C99 (ex 75+23), registered to Aviation Enterprises, were also present, with the staff kindly taking the cover off the Alpha Jet and pulling it out a bit, to be better photographed. Of the SEAir aircraft present, another Do328 was RP-C4328, while wfu Do28D-2's RP-C673 and RP-C1179 (with parts missing) both look in bad condition. Finally, SEAir LET-410's parked here were RP-C2128 (complete in an orange scheme), RP-C2328 (complete in a green scheme), RP-C2628 (previously in a yellow scheme, now in primer, with engines and other parts missing), RP-C2728 (complete in a white scheme), and RP-C3328 (in a burgundy scheme, with many parts missing). Also, two others in Ruposhi Bangla Airlines colours, are S2-AEI (ex RP-C2928) and S2-AEJ (ex RP-C2428), both kept here in good condition. Back in May 2011, this new 'Canadian-Bangladeshi joint venture budget passenger and cargo airline' flew one of the Turbolets to Chittagong without any ATC clearance. The managing director was then arrested, and the aircraft later returned to the Philippines, where they both remain. Game over!

Heading back to the terminal area, the main ramps contained quite a surprise, with Orbis 'Flying Eye Hospital' DC-10-10 N220AU parked up. The oldest surviving DC-10, being the second built, its familiar history includes last being used by Novair as G-GCAL, before being acquired by Orbis in 1991. The organisation's first aircraft, DC-8-21 N220RB, was retired in 1994 and is now on display at the Datangshan museum in Beijing (where it was photographed last year). N220AU is due to be replaced by MD-10-30F N330AU (ex FedEx N301FE) later this year. Another classic, parked nearby, was retired Heavylift Cargo B727-051C RP-C8017, although another two B727-200F's previously wfu here (RP-C5353 and RP-C5355 of Pacific East Asia Cargo) were not seen (now scrapped?). Completing the picture here, another couple of retired airframes are ex Grand Air B737-200's RP-C8887 and RP-C8891 (the old Britannia Airways G-AWSY), though with both being dumped close to the Air Base area, they are very difficult to even see. Also, the fuselage of another ex PhAF F-27-200, 10296 is also present (used for training), out of sight around the military area. As for the active military, a PhAF S.211 was seen in the circuit, with a couple of others, along with some F-5's seen parked in and around some distant shelters.

And that was that, with the first two countries done, as the remainder of day 5 would be travelling, on to Thailand. Although there had been some hassle, re-arranging our plans and flights, with the original plan of flying with Tigerair from Manila direct to Phuket being cancelled when the airline dropped the route (after we had booked!), the new plan of flying out of Clark had worked well, with us wanting to visit this place anyway, and which had been well worth it. So, checking in for Tigerair Philippines flight DG7212 to Bangkok, operated by A319 RP-C4319, departure was at 1550, arriving at BKK 3.05 hours later at 1755L. Connecting straight onto Bangkok Airways, PG279 to Phuket was operated by another colourful Airbus, A320 HS-PGU. Departing at 1955 for the one hour flight to the countries largest and most popular island, this was the start of five days in the 'Land of Smiles', for the first taste of Thailand. To be continued...


More pictures to follow...

RP-C8346 Gulfstream 4SP